A new funding announcement from the federal Liberals is good news for those living in rural areas: You, too, may share the joy of Netflix binge-watching.
Funding for broadband service means those in rural areas with no previous Internet — and sometimes no cell service — will now have access. For those already with access, it means they'll upgrade to high-speed service at speeds of five megabits per second.
Ten B.C. Internet service providers are receiving a total of about $16 million from the federal government in order for roughly 23,000 households to acquire better service.
Liberal Sea to Sky MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones made the announcement on Friday, April 15.
"We are entirely committed to a strong digital economy," said Goldsmith-Jones, who added that Whistler company Base Technology is the provider, and is the recipient of almost $500,000 in order to provide access in upper Pemberton Meadows, Upper Squamish Valley, Paradise Valley, Lillooet Lake and the Lil'wat Nation territory.
Said Davin Peterson, CEO of Base Technology: "This is a fantastic opportunity. I am very pleased to work with the provincial and federal governments on a real starting point for a whole new generation of people to connect with the digital age in rural communities."
Peterson's company employs 12 people, and is currently looking for skilled talent as he builds the company and the local economy.
Trans-Pacific Partnership consults
Public discussion on the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership is scheduled as open-ended consultations in the coming months.
Goldsmith-Jones says Sea to Sky residents and businesses are encouraged to provide written submissions to express their views, or to appear as witnesses before the standing committee.
"I'll likely hold several — four or six — consultations over the next several months," she said adding there is no deadline to apply.
The partnership would create the largest free-trade zone with 12 Pacific nations from Chile to Japan, and an estimated 40 per cent of the world's economy.
Anyone wishing to appear as a witness can make their request at any time. For more information go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medically Assisted Dying
Debate on the long-awaited bill on medically assisted dying starts next week in the House of Commons, and Goldsmith-Jones says government will be looking to consult with the public across the country.
"We'll have big discussions," said Goldsmith-Jones. "We're bringing this forward, but the bill describes terms that are narrower than many Canadians would like to see."
Goldsmith-Jones said the three areas that need more discussion include issues of dementia, advanced consent, and those of mature minors.
Consultation is crucial, she said, so the legislation is not only clear for all Canadians, but so that costly, lengthy court challenges are avoided.
"We don't want to end up in the Supreme Court," said Goldsmith-Jones. Although the B.C. Civil Liberties Association successfully argued in 2011 that the current law contravenes the Charter of Rights, the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of B.C., only to be later overturned in the Court of Appeal for B.C.